Monthly Archives: August 2017

Trying to tie it all together: Snippets from previous posts

Some thoughts from an earlier post:

  • Quality First Teaching – Make sure that every teacher feels able to deliver the best lessons possible in a culture of both high expectations and support (what we want for the pupils too!)
  • Making the implicit explicit:
  • speak your thoughts aloud; speak clearly and with a sophisticated vocabulary; read clearly and with expression; write with the students; revise ‘live’; ask the questions you really want to ask; don’t be satisfied with simple answers; make feedback timely and useful.
  • Make sure that pupils are acting on marking in some way (DIRT)
  • I would strongly encourage all teachers to request a Visualiser; you can show a good piece of work to the class, mark a piece of work with the class, annotate a text with the class and show different drafts of the same piece of work throughout a lesson. There are other uses for a Visualiser, however the four strategies I have mentioned are the ones I use most often.

Making Every English Lesson Count:

‘We each have to carve out our own teaching identity’

The principles:

  1. Challenge
  2. Explanation
  3. Modelling
  4. Deliberate practice
  5. Questioning
  6. Feedback

‘Real English teaching requires you to take the harder route’ p4

Teaching vocabulary:

Wittgenstein: “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”

  • words should be taught in context
  • words should be taught with student friendly explanations
  • students need to see how words work in multiple contexts
  • students should practise using the words straight away
  • students should have multiple exposures to new words
  • teach two or three words a lesson
  • model your love of words
  • insist on precise vocabulary in discussion

Preparation/priming a class for a text:

  • Provide three quotations
  • Themes first
  • Contextual clues
  • Related non-fiction
  • Descriptive adjectives
  • A question

Make it concrete:

Images:

  • Pair words and images
  • keep images near the text
  • simple images
  • students drawing
  • appropriate clips

Graphs and diagrams

Drama: ‘…shed light on a moment in the play and develop it in great detail, not to act out a whole scene’ p40

Go intertextual:

  • Intertextual explanations: Scrooge and Birling are both businessmen…
  • Intertextual questions: Scrooge and Birling are both businessmen. What are the main differences..?
  • Intertextual tasks: Venn diagrams, comparison

Modelling reading (analysis):

“The goal of modelling reading, therefore, is to shine a light on implicit metacognitive processes processes so that feel simple and achievable” p46

Explode a quotation:

  • Circle key words
  • label literary devices – explain their effect
  • zoom in on one key word – effect
  • link to other scenes/quotations
  • historical context
  • ask a further question

Ask for verbal responses, list them, discuss their appropriateness, run with the best. p51

Retaining knowledge:

  • Pause lessons – quizzes, essays plans etc.
  • low stakes quizzes (5 a day etc.)
  • Online quizzes
  • Essay plans
  • Extended writing

Writing:

Neil Gaiman: “Parameters are the things you bounce of to create art” p80

“…make sure children know a lot about a topic before the start writing about it!” p83

Scaffolding:

  • Starter sentences
  • Shared writing
  • Class discussions and notes
  • Student examples

Modelling Writing:

“…working backwards from an excellent model and working forwards towards an excellent model.”

I do, we do, you do

WAGOLL / WABOLL

  • Think of your reader
  • Model short (sentence)
  • Model medium (paragraph)
  • Model long (exemplar whole texts)

Creating the right culture :

  • Set the ethos
  • Clear rules and sanctions
  • Benchmark brilliance
  • Bright spots (share high quality work) (visualiser)
  • Praise
  • Nudge
  • Consistency

Flow state:

  • Write regularly
  • Adopt a position
  • Map a path
  • Retreat or circulate
  • Interrupt wisely

Feedback:

  • Mark less, mark better
  • DIRT
  • Pupils edit first (STAR)
  • Live mark – highlighter / dot marking / circle / verbal
  • Spotlight (bright spot)
  • marking tips p144

TWR Principles:

  1. Students need explicit instruction in writing
  2. Sentences are the building blocks of all writing
  3. Embed writing instruction into the content of the curriculum
  4. The content of the curriculum drives the rigor of the writing instruction
  5. Grammar is best taught in the context of student writing
  6. The two most important phases of the writing process are planning and revising

Teaching Sentences:

  • compare and contrast sentences with sentence fragments Tybalt uses fragment as an insult.
  • Linguo bad grammar overload
  • Use the four types of sentences (statements, questions, exclamations and commands)
  • Develop questions
  • Use conjunctions to extend responses (because, but, so)
  • Use subordinating conjunctions to reflect written language structures (although, unless)
  • Insert appositives to describe a noun
  • Combine sentences
  • Expand a ‘kernel’ sentence (5 Ws & H)

Teaching Sentences:

  • compare and contrast sentences with sentence fragments Tybalt uses fragment as an insult.
  • Linguo bad grammar overload
  • Use the four types of sentences (statements, questions, exclamations and commands)
  • Develop questions
  • Use conjunctions to extend responses (because, but, so)
  • Use subordinating conjunctions to reflect written language structures (although, unless)
  • Insert appositives to describe a noun
  • Combine sentences
  • Expand a ‘kernel’ sentence (5 Ws & H)

More notes in the previous post

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Notes on ‘The Writing Revolution’

TWR Principles:

  1. Students need explicit instruction in writing
  2. Sentences are the building blocks of all writing
  3. Embed writing instruction into the content of the curriculum
  4. The content of the curriculum drives the rigor of the writing instruction
  5. Grammar is best taught in the context of student writing
  6. The two most important phases of the writing process are planning and revising

Sadler: sentences “are literally miniature compositions”

“When first introducing a strategy, it’s best to model an activity for the class and have students practice it orally as a group” p17 (Talk for Writing)

Importance of a Visualiser p18

Teaching Sentences:

  • compare and contrast sentences with sentence fragments Tybalt uses fragment as an insult.
  • Linguo bad grammar overload
  • Use the four types of sentences (statements, questions, exclamations and commands)
  • Develop questions
  • Use conjunctions to extend responses (because, but, so)
  • Use subordinating conjunctions to reflect written language structures (although, unless)
  • Insert appositives to describe a noun
  • Combine sentences
  • Expand a ‘kernel’ sentence (5 Ws & H)

Fragments VS. Sentences:

  1. Start by talking in fragments and asking the class to make them ‘whole’
  2. Then use content specific fragments and ask the class to make them whole
  3. Give a list of content specific fragments and sentences and ask the class to identify which is which. The class can then correct both the fragments and the sentences (the sentences will need capital letters and full stops)
  4. Write content specific passages that include fragments that need to be identified and corrected

Scrambled sentences: put the first word in bold to aid this. p32

Types of sentences:

  • Declarative (statement): the most common type of sentence
  • Imperative (command)
  • Interrogative (question)
  • Exclamtory (exclamation): expresses force or strong emotion
  1. Provide a list for students to identify
  2. Ask students to change statements into questions (and vice versa)
  3. Give specific criteria for a summary – a key word attached to a sentence type

Developing questions

  • Ask students to write a question or questions about an image
  • Ask students to write their own essay questions
  • What is the question to the given answer? (Jeopardy)

The power of Basic Conjunctions: Because, But and So

p40-42

  • The teacher was happy because we raised our hands
  • The teacher was happy but she still gave us homework
  • The teacher was happy so she gave us a longer recess (break)

Subordinating Conjunctions:

p43 – 46

Use sentence stems with subordinating conjunctions so the students have to develop their answers:

Although the Industrial Revolution was important…

Before the Industrial Revolution…

Since Lennie has a mild mental disability…

Appositives:

An appositive is a second noun or noun phrase or clause equivalent to a noun, that is placed beside another noun to explain it more fully. For example:

New York City, the largest city in the United States, is a major tourist attraction.

Sentence combining:

  • Nate took the subway every day
  • Nate did not like the subway
  • Nate needed to get to work

“Although Nate did not like the subway, he took it every day because he needed to get to work”

All of these activities could be a starter, mini-plenary or plenary

Expanding Sentences

p56 – 63

Use a kernel sentence and ask the students to expand with 5 Ws & H

For example: Jane ran.

  • Who
  • What
  • When: 7am
  • Where: park
  • Why: to get into shape
  • How

Show the students the expanded sentence:

At seven in the morning, Jane ran in the park because she wanted to get in shape

Now use a kernel sentence based in the content:

He was killed. 

 

Use sentence expansion with images too (maybe Macbeth with blood on his hands)

What is a paragraph?

A group of sentences about a specific point. To be effective, a paragraph must include:

  • Structure
  • Coherence (logically connected ideas)
  • Unity
  • Sentence skills

The writing process:

  1. Plan and outline
  2. draft
  3. Revise the draft (make word and sentence level changes)
  4. Edit the draft (correct mechanical errors)

Single Paragraph Outline

p83

  • Topic Sentence (TS)
  • Sequenced ideas or notes
  • Concluding sentence (CS)

Examples p85

Teaching the topic sentence:

  • A list of sentences – what is the topic sentence and what are the supporting details?
  • Adding to this – a list of sentences, one is the TS, the rest are details and one of them you can strike out for being irrelevant

What makes a good TS or CS?

  • Vary the sentence type – statement, question, exclamation, (maybe) a command
  • Include an appositive (second, ‘fuller’ noun)
  • Start with a subordinating conjunction (before, although, etc)

Start with a ‘kernel’  TS and ask students to write three new TS with each strategy p94 – 95

Another way to teach an SPO – turn a paragraph into a SPO – p99

Full checklist for an SPO:

  1. Identify the Topic, Audience, Purpose
  2. Mind map
  3. Write a Topic Sentence
  4. Select, categorize and sequence ideas
  5. Write notes for each idea
  6. Write a Concluding Sentence

Revising

When students are used to TWR strategies, you can ask them to apply these strategies to improving or revising paragraphs:

  • Improve TS and CS – (sentence types, appositive, subordinating conjunction)
  • 5 Ws & H
  • Vary vocabulary
  • Combine sentences
  • Give examples

T&L process to move from basic paragraphs to Independent Revision (in the sense of making changes to work):

  1. Improve a paragraph together on the board
  2. Improve a paragraph with student suggestions only
  3. Students improve a paragraph in pairs
  4. Students improve a basic paragraph independently first then feedback
  5. Students improve their own work then get teacher feedback
  6. Students make confident revisions to their own work.

Teach transition words (connectives/discourse markers?) p122 -123

Excellent example of how to scaffold a transition exercise p130

The GST process (I need to study this further):

p168

  1. General statement (the wider genre/environment/period of history)
  2. Specific statement (the topic you are focusing on)
  3. Thesis statement (your judgement that you will be backing up)

good examples p170

  • Give a G, S and T sentence and ask students to identify which is which
  • Give two and ask the student to write the third
  • Give a T sentence and have students work back from it.

Chapter 8: applying this to argue/persuade writing

What follows after is lots of good advice and resources on how to apply this method in your every day practice

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Notes on Making Every English Lesson Count

‘We each have to carve out our own teaching identity’

The principles:

  1. Challenge
  2. Explanation
  3. Modelling
  4. Deliberate practice
  5. Questioning
  6. Feedback

‘Real English teaching requires you to take the harder route’ p4

‘…young people absorb new words incrementally through multiple exposures to the word in slightly different contexts over time’ p5 (ref. E.D. Hirsch Why Knowledge Matters)

‘…direction, immersion and habit’ p5

‘…establish and maintain good working behaviours’ p6

‘…a child requires many forms of knowledge: of the writer’s life and times; of genre conventions and plot; of language devices and vocabulary; of themes and allusions.’ p11

How to chose a text:

  • Lexical challenge
  • Conversation of mankind
  • Literary conventions
  • Cultural capital

And then perhaps make a final choice between good options: ‘The throbbing heart of the English lesson should be the text itself’ p15

‘A ripple that, eventually, becomes a wave.’ p16

‘…it is far more effective to teach a range of critical interpretations than it is to tell students to make them up’ p19

Daniel Willingham: “Teaching content is teaching reading” p21

Teaching vocabulary:

Wittgenstein: “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”

  • words should be taught in context
  • words should be taught with student friendly explanations
  • students need to see how words work in multiple contexts
  • students should practise using the words straight away
  • students should have multiple exposures to new words
  • teach two or three words a lesson
  • model your love of words
  • insist on precise vocabulary in discussion

Preparation/priming a class for a text:

  • Provide three quotations
  • Themes first
  • Contextual clues
  • Related non-fiction
  • Descriptive adjectives
  • A question

Questioning (p34-35)

Make it concrete:

Images:

  • Pair words and images
  • keep images near the text
  • simple images
  • students drawing
  • appropriate clips

Graphs and diagrams

Drama: ‘…shed light on a moment in the play and develop it in great detail, not to act out a whole scene’ p40

Go intertextual:

  • Intertextual explanations: Scrooge and Birling are both businessmen…
  • Intertextual questions: Scrooge and Birling are both businessmen. What are the main differences..?
  • Intertextual tasks: Venn diagrams, comparison

Modelling reading (analysis):

“The goal of modelling reading, therefore, is to shine a light on implicit metacognitive processes processes so that feel simple and achievable” p46

Explode a quotation:

  • Circle key words
  • label literary devices – explain their effect
  • zoom in on one key word – effect
  • link to other scenes/quotations
  • historical context
  • ask a further question

Ask for verbal responses, list them, discuss their appropriateness, run with the best. p51

Sentence stems

Read out loud

Practising reading

Read alone/shared reading

Question templates – p68-71

Retaining knowledge:

  • Pause lessons – quizzes, essays plans etc.
  • low stakes quizzes (5 a day etc.)
  • Online quizzes
  • Essay plans
  • Extended writing

Writing:

Neil Gaiman: “Parameters are the things you bounce of to create art” p80

“…make sure children know a lot about a topic before the start writing about it!” p83

Scaffolding:

  • Starter sentences
  • Shared writing
  • Class discussions and notes
  • Student examples

Rhetoric p88-90

Grammar – talk in the language of grammar and teach grammar in context

Great example of how to teach the correct use of the semi colon p98-99

Spelling memory cues p100

Writing success criteria: not too many and have both the official criteria and your own student friendly rules or targets p102

Modelling Writing:

“…working backwards from an excellent model and working forwards towards an excellent model.”

I do, we do, you do

WAGOLL / WABOLL

  • Think of your reader
  • Model short (sentence)
  • Model medium (paragraph)
  • Model long (exemplar whole texts)

Creating the right culture :

  • Set the ethos
  • Clear rules and sanctions
  • Benchmark brilliance
  • Bright spots (share high quality work) (visualiser)
  • Praise
  • Nudge
  • Consistency

Flow state:

  • Write regularly
  • Adopt a position
  • Map a path
  • Retreat or circulate
  • Interrupt wisely

Scaffolding:

  • tight parameters
  • tick lists
  • sentence starters
  • key words
  • discussion

‘…independent writing is a destination, not a teaching strategy in its own right” p133

Feedback:

  • Mark less, mark better
  • DIRT
  • Pupils edit first (STAR)
  • Live mark – highlighter / dot marking / circle / verbal
  • Spotlight (bright spot)
  • marking tips p144

 

 

 

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